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General Greene to General Washington



Fort Lee, November 7, 1776.

DEAR SIR: By an express from Major Clarke, stationed at Dobbs' s Ferry, I find the enemy are encamped right opposite, to the number of between three and five thousand, and the Major adds, from their disposition and search after boats they design to cross the river. A frigate and two transports or provision ships passed the cheveau-de-frise night before last; they were prodigiously shattered from the fire of our cannon. The same evening, Colonel Tupper attempted passing the ships with the pettiaugers loaded with flour. The enemy manned several barges, two tenders, and a row-galley, and attacked them. Our people run the pettiaugers ashore, and landed and defended them. The enemy attempted to land several times, but were repulsed. The fire lasted about an hour and a half, and the enemy moved off. Colonel Tupper still thinks he can transport the provisions in flat-boats. A second attempt shall be speedily made. We lost one man mortally wounded.

General Mercer writes me the Virginia troops are coming on. They are now at Trent-Town. He proposes an attack on Staten-Island; but the motions of the enemy are such I think necessary for them to come forward as fast as possible. On York-Island, the enemy have taken possession of the far hill next to Spiten-Devil. I think they will not be able to penetrate any further. There appears to be about fifteen hundred of them. From the enemy' s motions I should be apt to suspect they were retreating from your Army, or, at least, altering their operations.

Mr˙ Lovell, who at last is enlarged from his confinement, reports that Colonel Allen, his fellow prisoner, was informed that transports were getting in readiness to sail at a moment' s warning sufficient to transport fifteen thousand men.

The officers of Colonel Hands' s regiment are here with inlisting orders. The officers of the Pennsylvania regiments think it a grievance (such of them as are commissioned for the new establishment) that the officers of other regiments should have the privilege of inlisting their men before they get orders. I have stopped it until I learn your Excellency' s pleasure. General Ewing is very much opposed to it. You' ll please to favour me with a line on the subject.

I am, with the greatest respect, your Excellency' s obedient servant,


To his Excellency General Washington, at White-Plains. Favoured by General Morris.